When the Philadelphia Eagles selected linebacker Jamar Chaney with the 220th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, he was viewed as a possible special teams contributor. Now, defensive coordinator Juan Castillo calls Chaney a budding Pro Bowler.
"Jamar can be standout at whatever linebacker position he would like. He runs a 4.5 at 245-250 pounds. He's physical, smart. That's ability. When you give a coach ability like that, he's going to be a Pro Bowl player some day," said Castillo.
Seven games into the 2011 season, the second-year Chaney has already made more tackles (43) than he did during his rookie campaign. Surrounded by All-Star talent, Chaney has nonetheless managed to carve a bigger role in the Eagles defense.
"When you start making the plays on the field, you become a leader so that when you say something, you don't have to say it loud and be rah-rah," said Castillo. "Everybody is going to listen to you because you're a football player and you know the defense. Jamar does, and he studies a lot. He'll be in here tonight late and he was in here yesterday and he'll be in here tomorrow. We text each other and tell me about the game plan. He's into it mentally, too, so you take a guy that's smart, loves the game, and is talented like that and he's evolving into what he should be."
The Eagles defense has stepped up during the past two games, allowing a combined 20 points in wins against the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. Chaney has centered the suddenly stingy Eagles, becoming the unit's leader.
"The thing is that Jamar basically runs the defense. He basically calls the huddle, and he's the one who calls the checks. Sometimes some of the safeties do that, but I think what's happening now is that being a young guy and playing with veterans, what happens is he has to prove himself to them. Part of that is so that he can feel comfortable because he has to tell those guys what to do and getting on their butts," said Castillo.
"I think what you're seeing is that Jamar is a very blessed individual and he's working hard and he's a smart kid. It's just a matter of time. I think he is showing on the field. He had nice, tight coverage last week on the tight end and that's the kind of stuff we have been working on. He made some good plays in the run game, so he's just getting better and better. I think when you watch tape, all the other guys are going to see that he's a big time player."